Decluttering kids art


It's the G.  The MCG.

What the freak is that? I hear you ask!  It’s “The G”.  The MCG, or Melbourne Cricket Ground which is a little deceptive as Australian Rules Football is also played there.

One of our client’s kid’s made this sizeable model WITH WORKING LIGHTS, even though one of the towers has since fallen over.  I adore this project – really impressive.

The G

The G

But we have a quandry!  What to do with this charming school art project? I would suggest a really nice selection of  photos are the best way to capture a 3D item, especially ones that include images of the creator – in his footy gear even – but his Mum keeps almost ALL of her three children’s artwork.

There is A LOT OF IT. We are talking A LOT – think of a smallish wardrobe crammed with memorabillia.

What might you say to her if you had the chance?  What advice might you give? Or are you the same, and find yourself very sentimental about your kids creations, clothes and trinkets?

16 responses to “Decluttering kids art

  1. Let it go.

    By all means keep a small sample – you need items for the embarrassment factor on their 21st (and it’s great to look back when they’re going through their teenage years). For the rest, photograph them artwork then consign it to the recycle bin.

  2. I know exactly how she feels, though we only have 2 large boxes, plus the stuff we exhibit in the house on shelves and on walls.
    Luckily I have planned to have some time off in the next few months where i can go through the boxes. I think it’ll be really hard for me to get rid of stuff so I am planning to scan or photograph the artworks depending on size and whether they are 3D. I am planning on pitting them in chronological order and selecting a few to display in a book. This is also to show the development of our budding artists, so some of these may just be scribbles.
    Of those whih aren’t selected I will put aside works which we could reuse to make christmas baubles, chains, collages, etc. why buy new coloured paper when we already have it in the home.
    Oh, and as I did mention above, some stuff does even make it into frames.

    As an aside, I have a plastic A3 envelope per child and the artwork for each month goes into it. At the end of the month the artwork gets a name and date stamp and then put into the boxes I mentioned.

    If you haven’t time to scan or photograph a wardrobe full, maybe advertise on airtasker for someone to do it. It will last a lot longer in digital format.

    Good luck and happy crafting!!!

    • Oh dear. And I thought I had OCD… I’ll probably never have kids, but if I did, I wouldn’t be keeping what I call the “kid crap”. Photograph it if you like, and if your kid is talented enough frame it up, but keeping and documenting every bit of it? I feel sad for you. You’re turning yourself and by extension, your kids, into hoarders. I KNOW it’s hard, but enjoy your kids with your time off, not the “stuff” they create. (And I AM a hoarder so it’s not like I don’t speak from experience, albeit somewhat differently.)

      I have a cautionary tale I’d like to tell that might make you rethink. I cleaned a house a few years ago. In the ladies bedroom was a WALL full of lever arch file folders in bookcases, full of useless stuff like kids school newsletters. What else was there, I’ve no idea, but the newsletters going back to the 80s really stuck out at me. (The folders were labelled, I didn’t go through them!! And I have a feeling some of it went back even further, to the 1970s.) Clearly this woman was a collector/hoarder. At some point in time she had been “organised”, but then she’d fallen ill (Huntington’s, IIRC, to make matters worse) and at that point it all fell to crap, obviously. I don’t think there’s any doubt that at some point this woman was going to die, and her hoarded house would be left for her children to deal with. Instead of dealing with their grief, they’ll be dealing with her stuff, wondering “why the hell did she keep this stuff?”.

      From my own childhood, the only things I wish I still had were my padded Smurfs pencil box, my collection of Baby Sitters Club books (Mum gave them away, WITHOUT ASKING, and then wonders why I’m a hoarder!!), and my Dad, obviously. The rest of it doesn’t matter.

  3. Hi Lissanne! Great models by the way! Well done kids, love THE G!!!! My suggestion is that the family make a video documentary about the art & put it on YouTube. They could film funny reenactment a of the kids making it. (“Dinners ready!” “Coming Mum!” And a shot of the kid holding scissors and glue). The kids could narrate it etc etc. so then they have a fun video to keep & focus on. Upload it to YouTube so they can show their friends….. So the models can be thrown away one day but the video remains.

  4. I do keep a lot of my kids stuff (and actually like some of it!) but would prefer to toss the lot some days! I am not sure why I keep it and why we torture ourselves to document it, photograph it etc, etc. I don’t think it makes anyone a bad parent to toss art once it has had its day and keeping it or documenting it may be nice to look back on but shouldn’t be confused with being a ‘perfect’ parent. In the long run I don’t have any of my school projects and at age 51 I have to say i wouldn’t really be interested so am glad my Mum made that decision and tossed them long ago.

    • Jenni, I’ve often said same to clients: I’m 46 and have not greeting cards from my childhood, only two school projects and one piece of art. It’s not sent
      me into therapy.

  5. I struggle with my kids art…not because I want to keep most of it, but because miss 4 year old does! Every last scribble. An A3 clear file was recommended to me for the good stuff and ‘when it’s full it’s full’. This has been great…but we also still have an intermediate step for incoming art (A3 cardboard envelope) which I use to cull when her eyes aren’t looking!

  6. I am a classic hoarder of my child’s art work, clothing and school books. A friend gave me some good advice once and I have always remembered it. She said the further you get away from stuff, the less attached you are to it. So I don’t stress about keeping 100 pieces of art work from a year in a folder. I just make a point of re-visiting the art work, books, clothes etc every couple of years and I usually get rid of a lot of what I have kept because it’s not part of your daily life of memories any more and I don’t feel as attached to it. It works especially well for clothing. Good luck!

    • Nice tip, and I’m glad it works for you (and others). The flip side is this: Sometimes we develop a relationship with items simply due to the length of time we’ve had them, and items can *gain* importance. Knowing which style you are can help tackle the stuff.

  7. Love reading these ideas, especially love the youtube video idea!
    I have 3 grown up kids and now a grandling,, all of them wildly creative and expressive. I figured I would keep one cardboard file box of tidily stored selections of their work. For me, this is a happy compromise between complete clutter and complete clearance. My self-imposed parameters on what to keep were: what will fit into one, easily moved container. This way, I’ve kept the scribbles and masterpieces that are especially special.
    As for birthday cards, I kept a number of them for each kiddlet, then handed them over as each left home…..my work was done!
    And I maintain an ‘oral history’. I recall and recount funny little things they did and said, (yes, I’m that embarrassing mum!), as well as stories from mine and my parents’ childhoods that were told to me. Keeping the memories alive in our minds by sharing them at family gatherings means no cobwebbed clutter corners, as well as laughs at lunches.

  8. Congratulations to Colleen who is on a sensible and disciplined track.
    Since the 1980s I,ve admired a LOT of “box work” as the mother of three, now adult, kids. The G is up there – most impressive. When I realised we were at risk of disappearing under the voluminous and ever growing collection I began using them to light our wood heater, in the absence of recycling options, and herein lies a cautionary tale. This can prove hazardous as I discovered when a neighbour came knocking to alert me to the fact that our chimney had become a roman candle! Some very understanding firemen called by to save the day, leaving me with a gentle tip regarding waxed milk cartons and quantity of cardboard. Thank goodness for recycling collections these days!
    The photo and video ideas are worthwhile – the short come being that some archival methods may become inaccessible owing to technological change.
    Having said that, I don’t think our kids miss their box work.
    Now off I go to clear out the 80’s newsletters!!!
    Thank you, Lissanne, for YOUR inspirational and entertaining newsletters.

    • OH MY Penny, that is a scary story – who would have thunk that you could have accumulated wax in the chimney like that!!! Thanks for the heads up! And thanks for the thank you on the newsletters 🙂

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s